Although I'm a Florida State Fan, I am still proud of my Gator cousin, William Walden Corry. Today's post honors him and all the other soldiers who lost their lives in World War 2.
Corry lettered in football and golf for the Gators from l940-42. He was the starting fullback and captain of the l942 football team. At 6-1, l98 pounds, he was as big as most linemen, and he could run and block. Newspaper accounts from that era described him as "tough."
As a senior he led the l942 team in scoring with 36 points. He ran for three touchdowns against Randolph-Macon, and his third quarter TD against Auburn was the difference in a 6-0 upset victory by the Gators.
Corry was also the unquestioned leader of the student body, serving as its president in l942-43 and as an officer in many campus organizations. He was president of Alpha Kappa Psi and Scabbard and Blade, vice-president of the F-Club, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi, member of the Executive Council of Florida Blue Key, senior warden of the Episcopal Vestry and Colonel of the Army ROTC .
When he graduated with honors from the College of Business Administration on May 4, l943 the future appeared golden. Steve O'Connell, a champion boxer at UF in the l930s and later president of the university, told close friend Whitt Palmer of Ocala that he thought Corry might one day be President of the United States.
Corry traded his cap and gown for an Army commission as a second lieutenant the week after graduation. He was sent for training at Ft. Sill, and other bases in the states, before being shipped overseas for duty in the European Theater under famed General George A. Patton.
The field artillery detachment commanded by 2nd Lt. Corry was fighting its way across France on hie 23rd birthday in January of l945. Patton's troops were slowly but steadily shoving the German army out of that nation.
On February 4 of that year, only weeks after his birthday, a major artillery battle took place. A German shell exploded amidst Corry and his men. Reports show the attack took place in the dark and when medical corpsmen arrived, Lt. Corry told them to take care of the men in his platoon first. By the time they could get back to him, he had passed away. It was noted by the corpsmen that it was a wonder He could even speak, much less in an audible voice. Lt Corry was awarded the Bronze Star, Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart.
Corry was buried in his hometown of Quincy, not far from the house on East King Street where he grew up, which is still inhabited by his brother, Rev. Richard Corry. His sister, Jean Corry Munroe, lived next door. Corry was born and raised in Quincy, and was a high school golf and football star who spent his summers in Passaic, N.J. as a sportswriter for his grandfather's newspaper.
He was honored in March of l959 when the University of Florida named its new married student housing complex on campus the William W. Corry Memorial Village. To this day Corry Village is home to Gator students and their families.
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